Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang has expressed support for a local bill that would re-appropriate lapsed funds from Saipan Local Law 18-17, saying he needs to hire at least 10 employees and buy a brand new truck with a boom/crane and claw.
House Local Bill 19-5 seeks to re-appropriate $780,000 in lapsed funds from the $2.7 million bond funds that was signed into law last year. July. Rep. Roman Benavente (Ind-Saipan) introduced HLB 19-5 in February this year.
Of the $780,000, about $430,000 will go to Precinct 1 projects. This includes $360,000 for the paving of the road to Obyan Beach, $40,000 for the repair and upgrade of the San Antonio Youth Center, and $30,000 for the repair and upgrade of the San Vicente basketball court and tennis/volleyball court. A total of $350,000 will go to Precinct 5 for the paving of Kannat Tabla Drive.
Apatang is asking the Saipan and Northern Islands Delegation to consider the Saipan Mayor’s Office’s request for funds.
“In our letter to the local delegation on March 27 and 30, we asked for $140,000 and $340,000, respectively, to purchase a boom truck and hire 10 full-time employees. We are submitting the same requests and kindly ask the delegation to allocate portion of the funds to be re-appropriated in HLB 19-5 to our office,” Apatang said.
“Our office incurred rental charges when it had to rent dump trucks and backhoes during last year’s heavy rain storms to repair and maintain unpaved secondary roads. We also had to clear tons of debris carried by uncontrolled runoff from primary roadways, ensuring that access for emergency vehicles to homes and establishments remained opened and unobstructed,” he added.
Apatang also detailed other heavy equipment that need to be repaired or maintained.
“We need funds to get the equipment repaired and put back into operation. Our two old loader backhoes and a motor grader are repairable and could be assigned to specific areas on the island for constant maintenance and repair of secondary roads,” he said.
Aside from seeking funding for employees and equipment, Apatang also urged the local delegation to look at other ways to maximize available funds.
Recently, the Marianas Visitors Authority has been making portions of its resources available for road improvements such as the portion of Mt. Tapochau Road and Chiribiyan Drive in Gualo Rai.
“We want to also see the MVA contribute portion of its funds into the cost to pave the Obyan road. MVA should be allocating portion of its own funds and resources for the maintenance and improvement of tourist sites, which includes Obyan Beach,” he said.